The Jolly Sailor in Davenport has a long history, often linked with being run by families.
The original Jolly Sailor Inn was thought to date back to the 1840’s, where within a farmhouse (dating back to 1785 and part of complex owned by the Davenport Family of Bramall House), a man named James Croft was listed on the census of Charleston (Which was how Davenport was then known) as a beer seller, living with his wife and Children.
Later in 1876, the Jolly Sailor Inn was sold to the Lamb Family, who again ran the Inn as a family until 1894, when it was sold to Daniel Clifton.
Seeing more potential, it was Clifton who decided to pull down the original farmhouse inn and build a new purpose built Inn which can still be seen today. This opened a year later in 1895 and was once again run by a family named the Walkers.
Over the years a number of brewery’s became involved in the running of the local pub, with Lanchester Taverns trying to attract a younger crowd throughout the 1980’s, this didn’t prove popular with the locals and it hit hard times.
In the late 90’s it was ran by the Spirit Pub Company (Later part of Greene King Pubs) and the pub had a bit of a revival, offering up food to the locals, that was until its sudden closure in Jan 2018, blamed partly on the increase of rent.
That’s where Almond Family Pubs stepped in. This was the 6th venture by the Stockport based family business, run by former publican and hotelier Doug Almond, with his son James and daughter Vikki.
The family business has developed a bit of a reputation for taking previously unloved pubs and turning them back into the family loved venues that they once were.
So on what appeared to be the first day of Summer, on a Friday evening, we headed down to check it out in its first week of opening.
As far as new openings are concerned, the Almond Family couldn’t have asked for anything better. The weather had hit into the mid 20’s with a blue sky’s overhead, the sort of evening when you drive home from work and think ‘this is perfect pub garden weather’
On arrival at the Jolly Sailor, it was clear that this was exactly what everyone had thought. The new outdoor terrace area to the rear of the property was full of people sitting in the early evening sun, which at 7pm was still beaming down and making Prosecco bubbles sparkle and sunglasses reflect.
We entered inside, and it was clear that they were really being put though their paces in regards of number of covers. The restaurant was full and people were ordering food to be eaten outside too. Thankfully we had booked in advance and our table had been reserved.
The building itself has been done up to a great standard, it is light and airy, without taking away from its stunning past. The area we sat still had a gorgeous beamed roof with the most stunning skylight in stained glass.
We were shown the menus and started to peruse.
The first thing I was really pleased to see was the wine list. Although on this occasion I was driving and so didn’t indulge, it was great to see a fantastic selection of wines available by the glass as well as the bottle, from light bodied Pinot Noir to a Chateauneuf-de-pape. Whites were also well represented from a Chardonnay to a Chablis, even India’s favourite, the trusty Gavi was available by the glass.
Food offering were also varied, from pub favourites like Sausage and Mash, to Homemade Fish Pies and even a variety of Pizza’s. The pub also offers up a great Carvery selection too.
For starters I opted to try out the Smoky Haddock and Salmon Fishcake.
The slightly crispy outer cuts open to reveal an oozing cheesy middle, full of great fish flavours, this was one of the better fish cakes I’ve ever had.
India went for the soup, a little hesitant after our hotel stay a couple of weeks back where their tomato soup was little more than out of a packet, she was very happy with this one being a thick and delicious home made version, served with a toasted roll and butter.
For mains I took a real leap of faith, as never do I usually order lasagne when eating out. It’s one of the dishes that I like to make at home and I’m very disappointed when I’m served up a very poor attempt at this dish. But if I’m going to really test out their offerings, then this is the dish to do it with.
I am thankful to say I loved it. It was not bland, frozen like, undercooked or sloppy. The consistency was perfect with a well baked cheese topping, good level of meat to pasta and full of flavour, this was an experience I enjoyed.
India went for her usual, you may see from previous reviews, its always the same – fish and chips. I guess its good for comparison, if its oily or soggy or over cooked fish, I soon know about it. The first thing about this fish however was its size – you cant even see the chips in the photo as the fish covered the entire plate!
Light yet crispy batter gave way to a fluffy white meaty inner, served alongside Chucky chips, tartar sauce and mushy peas. India being India however (And typically northern) asked the waitress if they had gravy!
Rather than flinch Kate who was serving us cheerfully replied ‘Which would you like, we have four’, which made Indias eyes light up more. She was served a small jug of gravy from the carvery section and enjoyed her gravy smothered fish and chips (She’s still using the excuse of having braces to have to smother everything in gravy)
Dessert time came and we were stuffed, even so I could not resist trying the Four Layer Fudge Cake.
Offered hot or cold and served with Cream, Ice Cream or Custard, I opted for warmed with Ice Cream. Served up with the middle melting and oozing all over the plate, this was a devilishly naughty dessert, but thoroughly delicious.
It always great to find a pub where you can sit out side, enjoy a pint and sunshine, but equally get a great meal with a good glass of wine that isn’t representative of a chain that uses bought in pre-made junk as their offering.
The Jolly Sailor in Davenport, Stockport gets more than a double thumbs up from me the service from the two girls waiting out area was spot on and it is definitely a pub that I can see myself going to despite the 30 min drive from my front door.
You can check out more about The Jolly Sailor and the other Amond Family Pubs on their website here.
I was invited to try the food at the Jolly Sailor free of charge in exchange for honest feedback. All thoughts and opinions within this review are purely those of Manchester Food Tourist and follow the same honesty and integrity of all content